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ornamental grass

Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum

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Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum) at Stein's Garden & Home

Switch Grass

Switch Grass

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  2

True Wisconsin Natives

The True Wisconsin Native Collection is an ever growing line of perennials that are truly native to Wisconsin. They provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, and other desirable wildlife. They are hardy to our climate and adapted to our soils. Once established and sited properly, these perennials will provide years of beauty and require less maintenance than traditional landscapes. Native plants enrich our lives and allow us to celebrate our plant heritage!

Ornamental Features

Switch Grass features airy plumes of rose flowers rising above the foliage in mid summer. The brick red seed heads are carried on showy plumes displayed in abundance from late summer to mid fall. Its grassy leaves are green in color. The foliage often turns yellow in fall.

Landscape Attributes

Switch Grass is an herbaceous perennial grass with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and is best cut back to the ground in late winter before active growth resumes. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Switch Grass is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Switch Grass will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It tends to be leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and should be underplanted with lower-growing perennials. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type, but has a definite preference for alkaline soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is native to parts of North America. It can be propagated by division.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Garden 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Texture 
Ornamental Features